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THE    ART   OF    LIVING                   305
gossip about fox spirits, go to operasf beat drums and gongs,
play the flute, practise on calligraphy, munch duck-gizzards,
salt carrots, fondle walnuts, fly eagles, feed carrier-pigeons, quarrel with their tailors, go on pilgrimages, visit temples, climb mountains, watch boatraces, hold bullfights, take
aphrodisiacs, smoke opium, gather at street corners, shout at aeroplanes, fulminate against the Japanese, wonder at the white people, criticize their politicians, read Buddhist classics, practise deep-breathing, hold Buddhist stances, consult fortunetellers, catch crickets, eat melon seeds, gamble for moon-cakes, hold lantern competitions, burn rare incense, eat noodles, solve literary riddles, train pot-flowers, send one another birthday presents, kow-tow to one another, produce children, and sleep. For the Chinese have always had geniality, joviality, taste and finesse. The great majority still keep their geniality and their joviality, although the educated ones in modern China are usually bad-tempered and pessimistic, having lost all their sense of values. Few of them still show any taste and finesse, and this is natural, for taste comes with tradition. Man is taught to admire beautiful things, not by books but by social example, and by living in a society of good taste. The spirit of man in the industrial age is ugly, anyway, and the spirit of man in China, throwing overboard all that is best and finest in their social tradition in a,mad rush for things Western without the Western tradition, is uglier still to look at. In the whole villadom of Shanghai, with all its millionaires, there is only one decent Chinese garden and it is owned by a Jew. All of the Chinese have gone in for the tennis lawn and geometric flower-beds and trimmed hedges, and tailored trees trained to look a perfect circle or a perfect cone, and flowers planted to represent letters of the English alphabet. Shanghai is not China, but Shanghai is an ominous indication of what modern China may come to. It leaves a bad flavour in our mouths like those Chinese-made Western cream-cakes made with pigs3 lard. And it jars on our senses like those Chinese brass bands playing "Onward, Christian Soldiers!" in a funeral march. Tradition and taste must take time to grow up.
^ There was taste in ancient China, and we can see what is left of it in beautiful old bookbindings, in exquisite letter-